Nearly 300 people sue Taylor County School Board over ousted Superintendent

The Taylor County Board of Education is being sued by nearly 300 plaintiffs after the board fired superintendent Dr. Gary Gibson.
The Taylor County Board of Education is being sued by nearly 300 plaintiffs after the board fired superintendent Dr. Gary Gibson.

TAYLOR COUNTY, Ga. – A group of nearly 300 people in Taylor County are suing the county’s school board after the firing of a beloved superintendent. A fight in the classroom is leading to a fight in the courtroom. The group, which calls themselves the Concerned Citizens of Taylor County, want answers after former superintendent Dr. Gary Gibson was fired inexplicably by the school board in a 3-2 vote. Gibson served from January 1, 2014 to September 19, 2016.

Several parents and other natives of Taylor County liked the change Gibson was bringing to what they considered an otherwise status quo school district and county.

“This is something Taylor County is not used to,” concerned parent Harriet Dixon said.

The Taylor County Board of Education is being sued by nearly 300 plaintiffs after the board fired superintendent Dr. Gary Gibson.
The Taylor County Board of Education is being sued by nearly 300 plaintiffs after the board fired superintendent Dr. Gary Gibson.

Dixon, who grew up in the school system, has two children in the Taylor County School District — a school district mired in controversy. Taylor County schools consistently rank in the bottom 20% of Georgia schools according to the state Department of Education. But many parents believe Gibson was turning that trend around. After Gibson’s departure, an interim Superintendent lead the district. However, he stepped down two weeks later, sparking more unrest. Jennifer Albritton is currently serving as Superintendent.

‘I didn’t see anything he was doing to negatively affect the school or children,” Dixon said. “[But now,] I think it has gotten a little messy.”

As the group now tries to sue the school board to reinstate Gibson, the board says they’ll leave the matter to the courts. The concerned citizens group claims one board member’s vote to fire Gibson was illegal because of nepotism. News 3 spoke with Attorney Brian Smith, who’s is representing the school board. He says there’s not a basis for courts, or a judge for that matter, to reinstate a superintendent or reverse a school board’s decision.

“It’s largely irrelevant because it doesn’t change the votes that were made by the board,” Smith explained. “You can imagine the chaos that would ensue if every vote was undone for the past year and a half.”

News 3 also caught up with the man in the middle of the lawsuit: Dr. Gibson. Gibson says in the past three months since his firing, he has relied on his faith and his calling as a minister. He feels some in the county are bothered by the change he tried to bring to the district.

“The older you get, the harder that change comes.”

Gibson says he believes in his calling, whether it’s in Taylor County or somewhere else.

“Everything will have to grow,” Gibson explained. “We have to get into the 21st century.”

Ultimately, the concerned citizens want Gibson reinstated. Attorneys for the school board are currently reviewing the case. They say they’ll decide whether to proceed in the coming week.

 

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